Park Trail #66 provides probably some of the easiest access to one of the least-visited areas of the Mazatzals, hence why I chose this trail. There is nothing absolutely spectacular about this trail, but it does lead to some interesting destinations in my opinion.
The trail starts near the end of FR1382 on the east side of the central Mazatzals. Initially I didn't find the trail right away. After parking at the end of the road, one will need to backtrack about 100 feet upon which you will find the trail descending on the south side of road and immediately crossing Park Creek. After you cross the creek, you will finally see some signage for this trail. The trail is pretty faint compared to most I'm used to, but not faint enough that you can't follow it. You can tell this trail does not get a lot of use. About 1/2 mile into the trail, it will start to climb out of the riparian area along Park Creek and enter into typical high desert scenery as it climbs. Spread out to the east before you will be expansive views of Tonto Basin and the Sierra Anchas and the town of Roosevelt below (more populated than I thought).
After about a 1000-1500 feet of climbing, the trail begins to level out and starts to offer some shady relief from the sun. Along this portion of the trail the wildflowers were really out in abundance. I was surprised of how good of close-up shots I could get with the 1.0 megapixel camera I'm using right now. Towards the end of the trail you will cross Park Creek again near it's headwaters. The creek was barely running but still had several large pools. Not even a couple-hundred feet after you cross you will come to the official end of this trail, a total length of about 4 miles with about 2300 feet of elevation gain. The trail ends at a place called Edwards Park-a nice grassy meadow with several large trees. Looks like it'd be (and has been) a great spot for camping.
Edwards Park is also the terminus of FR422 that runs south from this point along the crest of the Mazatzals about 11 miles until it connects with FR143 (Four Peaks road). You can either decide to turn around at Edwards Park or keep going on FR422 which is what I decided to do. It was nice and flat so I figured "why not?". I'm glad I did, it's interesting up along the crest of the southern Mazatzals. Although no pine forests, there are some huge trees up there, particulary oak and juniper. You also can take in distant views of the Four Peaks. I figured a good stopping point would be where the Boulder Creek Trail (part of the AZT) hooks up with FR422. This is probably 2 miles past Edwards Park. At this juncture you will have a closeup view of Boulder Mtn. On the way back, I noticed what appeared to be water cisterns of some sort. Looks like there is some ranching done up here, didn't see any cows though. Only thing to note on the way back is a view of Mt. Ord's south side and some more wildflowers.
All in all, I enjoyed the trail. It offered enough variety and complete solitude. The distance and time listed for the trail is up to Edwards Park only.
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This hike is listed as One-Way.
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